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Table of contents

1. The true losses suffered in a Car Accident are often under-estimated.2. Who can claim motor vehicle injury compensation?3. What can you claim for as part of motor vehicle injury compensation?4. What are the most common road and car accident injuries?

The exhilaration that you feel when you’re riding your motorbike is second to none. The freedom of getting out onto the open road is thrilling and exciting. However, the fact remains that riding a motorcycle can be dangerous, with motorcycle crashes happening all too often.

In 2019, there were 44 people killed in motorcycle accidents across Queensland. This number of fatalities was an increase of 2.3% from 2018. In the last ten years the highest number of motorcyclists deaths was in 2016, when 62 motorcyclists lost their lives

As far a group of road users go, motorcyclists are vulnerable by design - given that they lack the protection a car offers, like seatbelts or airbags. While it is up to all road users to use caution and take due care, motorcyclists clearly have the risk of being involved in serious motorcycle crashes and so must take particular care.

If you have suffered injury as a result of a motorcycle accident, whether as the primary rider or as a pillion rider, contact our motorcycle accident lawyers and start your claim for compensation. We operate on a no win no fee model which means that we will not accept any payment for our services if we do not achieve a successful compensation outcome for your personal injury claim.

What can you claim for as part of motor vehicle injury compensation?

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What are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents?

Motorcycle accidents, and resulting motorcycle injuries, can happen because of a range of causes. You may be riding along and a driver does not see you, hitting you or forcing you off the road. Or, you may be speeding and take a corner too quickly, sliding out and coming off your bike.

A motorbike accident where there is a collision with a car will usually see the motorcycle riders coming away with worse injuries. The most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:

  • Risk-taking, which was a factor in approximately 50% of fatal motorcycle crashes and approximately 28% of non-fatal motorcycle crashes in 2019;
  • Excessive speed, alcohol, drugs, and disobeying a traffic control law; and
  • Lane filtering (the act of driving between two lanes) combined with higher speeds, which increases the risk of crashing, specifically with pedestrians and cyclists.

It has been shown that the severity of injuries faced by motorcyclists is higher than for other road user groups, with the most critical injuries in fatal crashes being head and chest injuries.

What are the most common injuries associated with a motorcycle accident claim?

As noted above, the most critical injuries suffered in fatal motorcycle accidents involve head and chest injuries. However, there are myriad ways a motorcyclist can suffer injury when involved in an accident. We will explore the most common injuries below.

Brain injury from motorcycle accident

Many crashes happen when a motorcyclist is thrown from their bike after colliding with another vehicle or road user. When thrown from a bike, motorcycle users may hit their heads. Even if a helmet is worn, there is still serious risk of suffering a brain injury. It is important that every motorcycle rider invests in a high quality motorcycle helmet to protect themselves in the event of a crash.

Motorcycle head injuries when no helmet worn

While it is hugely unsafe, some motorcycle riders do not wear a helmet. If a crash happens there is shared responsibility between the rider and any other road users involved, because a motorcyclist has a duty of care to use appropriate protective equipment. If the motorcyclist does make a claim for compensation, the amount of compensation would likely be reduced due to the fact that no helmet was worn.

Spinal injury from motorcycle accident

Being thrown from a motorbike can result in spinal injury, with some motorcyclists becoming paraplegic or quadreplegic after an accident. It is imperative that you take appropriate care when riding and wear the best quality protective equipment. However, if you have suffered a spinal injury from a motorcycle accident you should speak to a personal injury law specialist who can help you to make a claim for compensation.

Knee injury from motorcycle accident

When coming off a motorbike in an accident, it is common to slide or hit the ground with force. Such a collision can cause injury to the knees. Knee injuries can manifest in different ways, and can cause lasting difficulty. Sometimes knee injuries take some time to heal, and it can be difficult to know the lasting impacts of such an injury until you have had surgery or completed the rehabilitation that needs to be done. Our expert personal injury lawyers can help you navigate the process of claiming for knee injury compensation.

PTSD from a motorcycle accident

While the injuries suffered in a motorcycle can be physical, people involved in motorcycle accidents can suffer lasting psychological injury, particularly if the injuries were significant or the accident was traumatic. You can also make a claim for pure psychological injury after an accident, even if you were not physically injured. Speak to our accident and injury lawyers if you have suffered psychological distress following a motorcycle accident.

Fatal motorcycle accidents

When someone is killed in a motorcycle accident it is deeply traumatic for the loved ones and family of that person. Often, grief is lasting and can result in psychological illness. If this happens, loved ones of the deceased may make a claim for psychological injury (also called a claim for nervous shock). Claims for fatal road accidents can also be made for wrongful death against the at fault driver, which is where the family of the deceased claim for compensation for their loss.

Can pillion riders claim injury compensation?

Yes, pillion passengers are covered under the CTP insurance of the rider of the motorbike, so whether you have been involved in a single vehicle crash (where the rider lost control of the motorbike and crashed) or if you have collided with another road user, you will be able to claim injury compensation. Speak to our lawyers today to find out more.

Can I claim for single vehicle accidents?

If you are riding alone and are thrown from your bike or lose control due to external factors, you may be able to claim. 

For example, there may be a defective road surface that is the responsibility of council or landowners. 

Or, you may be riding at night and a farmer has negligently failed to contain their livestock. If you crash because of farm animals on the road, you would be able to claim for injury against the at fault farmer.

Example: David is riding home from a friend’s house. He is turning onto a main road and does not notice a pothole which has not been filled by council. He strikes the pothole and slides onto the road, breaking his leg when his bike falls on him. He would be able to claim against the council responsible for injuries suffered.

Example: Hailey is riding to her shift which commences at 11pm. She lives in a rural area. The neighbouring farm has not filed a fence which broke during a recent storm. As a result, hundreds of cows are on the road. Hailey does not see them when she comes over a crest and has to brake sharply, sliding off her bike and grazing her legs. She is unable to work for two months while she recuperates. Hailey would be able to claim for her injuries against the negligent farm owner.

It is worth noting that in the example above, Hailey may also be able to claim against WorkCover for some of her injuries as she was going to work. Our personal injury lawyers can help you navigate the process of claiming and ensure that your financial compensation is managed appropriately.

What should you do after a motorcycle accident

Claims checklist with ticks

After any road accident it is important to seek medical attention. Even if you do not think you are badly injured, you may have suffered injuries which are not immediately apparent, and which manifest in other ways. You should:

  • Speak to your doctor or healthcare professional and get a full assessment of your injuries
  • Advise the police of your accident
  • Contact your insurance provider and let them know you have been in an accident
  • Advise your workplace or school and let them know that you are injured
  • Seek legal advice and help from a personal injury specialist

How long does a claim for motorcycle injury compensation take?

When you engage in a claim for compensation after a motorbike accident it typically takes around 12 months to 18 months to see your claim finalised. 

Many claims for compensation can be resolved without going to court, which means that your matter will ‘settle’ (be resolved without both sides agreeing to a final compensation amount). 

Our personal injury lawyers will outline a realistic and specific timeline in your claim for compensation, and will be by your side throughout the process to ensure that you are supported and know where you stand.

Who pays motorbike injury compensation

The accident has happened, the dust has settled and now you’re in the process of claiming for compensation. But the question is, who is responsible? Who pays when you are injured in a road accident?

  • The at fault driver’s CTP insurance company will pay compensation for your injuries.
  • If you were injured in a single-vehicle accident then it can be more complex. It’s best to call us to explain your situation and we can explore any avenues for compensation. For example:
    • A public liability claim might be possible if the accident was caused by a defective road surface or uncontrolled livestock.
    • Even if you are at fault, you may still be eligible to claim compensation through other insurance policies such as TPD insurance which is attached to your Superannuation policy and/or via standalone income protection.

What can I claim for?

A motorcycle accident can cause serious injury, and you may be off work for some time. The claims process through a CTP insurance company can include payment for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Health care expenses such as physiotherapy and rehabilitation
  • Ongoing care in your home and/or reasonable modifications to your home to accommodate permanent injuries
  • Lost wages and income, both past and future
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Home modifications in cases of severe injuries

The overall payment that you will receive will depend upon your age, your employment and income, the severity and duration of your injuries, and how well you recover.

What are the time limits for a motorcycle injury claim?

Generally, a claim for compensation after a motorcycle injury must be commenced within three years of the date of your accident. This is a strict time limit that applies to all personal injury claims and must be adhered to. 

There are exceptions to time limits, some mean you may need to start a claim much earlier.

Speak to our personal injury lawyers today and find out about how to commence your claim for compensation and avoid missing important time limits.

Posted by Kirk Watterston Senior Associate

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Disclaimer: Please note, this content is designed as general information only and does not constitute legal advice. While we make every effort to fact check and keep items up to date, legislation may change from time to time. For advice on your specific situation then please contact us.
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